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Community Conversations : cc recap CAP

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Community Conversations Recap: Capitol Hill Branch - Feb. 13

What are we hearing at the City Librarian's Community Conversations?

Background: City Librarian Marcellus Turner has invited Library patrons to join him at informal meetings in libraries across the city to talk about service improvements. The last of 12 Community Conversations was held at the Capitol Hill Branch from 5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014.

Recap: Turner first shared information about increased Library hours, collections, technology and building maintenance made possible by the 2012 voter-approved Library levy. He also discussed the Library's five current service priorities: youth and learning, technology and access, community engagement, Seattle culture and history and "re-imagined spaces," which he described as redesigning service areas to accommodate changing patron needs. Turner spent the majority of time listening to suggestions and answering questions from the public. He reserved the last 15 minutes for getting input on the five service priorities. Outlined below is the Q&A in brief, followed by highlights of the service priority discussion.

Questions and Answers:


I went to the West Seattle Branch as I needed help with my Apple computer. I did not have a good experience. Is there a way to help librarians be more professional?


We are sorry you did not have a good experience. All Library staff members are committed to providing the best customer experience possible. We will share your feedback with our West Seattle Branch.


Library staff seems more concerned with patron behavior outside the building while ignoring code of conduct violations in the building. Why is there more focus on activities outside the branch?


Library staff endeavors to consistently enforce the code of conduct for all patrons in all Library locations, including outside the buildings . If you observe a code of conduct violation in the building, please let Library staff know. We can only respond to inappropriate activities if we are aware of them.


I am interested in working at the Library. How do I apply for a job?


You can find current job listings and information about how to apply on the Library’s website on the Library Job Listings page.


I really like the Sunday hours, but I am concerned about potential reductions in bus service making it difficult to get to the Library. Can you reach out to Metro to encourage them not to cut routes?


We know that many patrons rely on the bus to get to Library locations. The Library has communicated to Metro the importance of maintaining bus routes near libraries.


Is there any way to offer roof access at branches such as Ballard?


While we do occasional tours of the green roof at the Ballard Branch, a variety of insurance, safety and security concerns prevent us from allowing regular access to spaces such as branch roofs.


Can you keep the Library open one hour later in the evening and on Fridays?


Funding approved as part of the 2012 Library levy provided funding for two additional seven-day branches and Sunday hours at 15 branches. Unfortunately, we do not currently have funding for additional hours other than those that were added in 2013. However, we will continue to monitor this demand and consider ways to address it in the future.


Would it be possible to alternate Sunday and Friday open hours in areas such as Fremont/Wallingford and Green Lake? I use all three branches and they are all closed on Sunday.


Thank you for your suggestion. Unfortunately, we do not currently have funding for additional hours at those locations. However, the Greenwood, Ballard and Northgate branches are open seven days a week and provide Friday access to Library materials.


How does the Library select films? I would like to suggest movies for the Library to purchase. How do I do that?


The Library selects films (as well as television programs, documentary and instructional videos) in DVD format to appeal to the wide range of interests and viewpoints of Library patrons. The emphasis of the DVD collection is on newly released popular feature films and television programs, though we do add older titles as well. A number of factors are considered when selecting a DVD, which includes critical reception, award recognition, box office performance, anticipated patron interest based on purchase suggestions, availability, and how it complements the present collection. Titles are selected from all genres, in English and foreign languages with English subtitles, for adults and children.

The Seattle Public Library also has a number of online films through our Hoopla and Access Video databases. Those films are part of a subscription package and new titles are added on a continual basis.

If you would like to recommend a specific film for the Library to purchase, you can do so on the Library’s website.


We are from Sustainable Capitol Hill. Would the Library be willing to add tools to the collection at Capitol Hill?


There are libraries that do loan items like bicycles and tools, but that is not the mission of The Seattle Public Library. In smaller communities, there is often a need for libraries to play a broader role in meeting community needs. In Seattle, the Library doesn’t need to provide overlapping services, such as those provided by the West Seattle Tool Library. What we can do is make sure we are a resource for directing patrons in need of specific items to the appropriate organization or business.


How can I get my friends to come to Library? They think it has nothing to offer if you have a computer.


The Library offers many services for individuals with their own technology – laptop, smartphone, tablet, e-reader and more. Just to name a few services, the Library offers free Wi-Fi, tech help, online classes for programs such as Microsoft Office, free online movie streaming, free MP3 downloads, e-books, audiobooks, and access to online databases including Ancestry.com, Consumer Reports online, online language programs, and neighborhood history online.


The spiral in the downtown Library can be noisy with tours, staff and other patrons. Is there any way to improve the acoustics and keep it quieter?


The ways people are using libraries are changing. Collaboration is becoming more important across all age groups. The Library tries to accommodate all these uses. As we look to re-imagine our existing Library spaces, we will consider improvements that serve the full range of uses – from quiet study areas to places for collaborative work.


The Wallingford Branch is very small. Is there any way to enlarge it?


While there are no plans to expand the space, as part of our re-imagined spaces initiative there may be ways to re-organize and improve the space so it works better for patrons.


Could you adapt the revolving doors at the Central Library to capture the energy generated by them?


While generating electricity via revolving doors has been done (notably at the Driebergen-Zeist railway station in the Netherlands), it is the Library’s long-term goal to replace the maintenance-intensive revolving doors at the Central Library’s Fifth Avenue entrance. It is likely that the eventual replacement would resemble the vestibule entrance created when the revolving doors at the busier Fourth Avenue entrance were removed. You can find information about the Central Library’s sustainable design and function at the following link: http://www.spl.org/locations/central-library/cen-building-facts.

Five service priorities:

Re-imagined Spaces and Technology and Access were identified as the two most important priorities to participants.